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Last minute change to vault height

mumof3

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Aug 13, 2017
12
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United Kingdom
Hello all,

I got some fantastic advice here a while ago, so I'm hoping to be able to ask your thoughts on something new, if that's okay.

My daughter has a competition coming up in a week or so. We are in the UK and her birthday is 28th Dec. 2009. This means that although she has just turned 9, she will compete in the 10-11 age category, because this calendar year she'll turn 10. All fine. Except that her coach thought, because she is quite small (according to daughter- seems like a bit of an assumption!), that she'd just turned 8 and therefore would be competing in the 9 year old age category.

The problem with that is that apparently the two groups vault at different heights. She now has to vault at the higher height next week, and she says she can't do it at all. Tried it for the first time tonight and can't get over at all without support, she says. It's not a vaulting table, it's a mat stack, and the vault is just a handstand flatback, which she has been doing very well at the 9 year old height, so I suspect not being able to do it at all is more of a psychological thing. Similarly, I'm sure that if she had more than a week to practice at the new height, she'd manage just fine.

Problem is she's both very cautious, and hates/is afraid of failure. If she can't do this vault at the competition, I know how much it will upset her. But I know going for something she perceives as much harder under pressure, without a lot of time to get it right will upset her too, and make her less likely to manage this vault.

To my mind, a good solution would be for the coach to spot the vault in competition, as getting a lower score would bother her much less than not being able to do it in front of a room full of people. However, the coach has said she'll be unable to do that on the day, as she'll be somewhere else on the competition floor. I do wonder if this has been said more as an attempt to encourage my child to just go for the vault, rather than actually the case, as it seems a bit unusual...

But I'm now unsure of how to best help my daughter plan for this, and work out how to shake it off if it does go wrong- at the last competition, she crumpled into a little heap on the ground and burst into tears straight after presenting for floor because she was so nervous/afraid, and the competition up until that point had gone well!

I have never met the coach who stays in the gym part of the gym before/after my daughter's class. I'm sure I could ask to speak with her about this, but I don't want to draw my daughter's attention to it even more, or fan the flames of her worry about it!

Can anyone offer any advice? What do I do?
 

kimute

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Dec 29, 2012
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USA
This may not be at all relevant, but my DD accidentally tried vaulting at a higher height during meet warm-ups and found she did better! Now she vaults at the higher height!
 
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gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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What exactly is happening when she tries? If she is unsafe performing the vt, then scratching the event is the best option but if it is more of an issue that she can't get enough height to block well, and will score poorly, then I would just try to calm her nerves and let her know and encourage her to compete it. Remind her that even the college and elite athletes mess up their vts. I just saw a video last week of a college gymnast doing a superman on the vt and an elite who totally missed putting her hands on the vt because she was so high on. Things happen even to the best of the best.
 
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ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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We are in the US. Vault height is about size not age. Our kids currently vault on 2 settings. 6 on one setting, 2 smaller kids the table is lower.
 
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raenndrops

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Oct 24, 2009
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We are in the US. Vault height is about size not age. Our kids currently vault on 2 settings. 6 on one setting, 2 smaller kids the table is lower.
Lol, in our Xcel Gold and Xcel Platinum team combined when they are ALL there, we have 6 vault settings ("0" - "5") ... but with YG going back down a setting (her choice because her scores have gone down on the higher setting, which they moved her up to while I was in the hospital so I didn't even know until the beginning of February), they should be at just 5 settings. The smallest girl and 2 others vault on the lowest setting (for the older ones, it is fear). YG was the only one in her group vaulting on 125 cm ... although we also have a L8 that vaults on that setting.

To @mumof3 , don't worry too much about it. There should be a coach there with them at vault. It is just a mat stack, either she will get it at the meet or the coach will see that she is not getting it in warm ups. In the case of the latter, the coach will either choose to spot or scratch her.
 
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Jenny

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Sep 17, 2012
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We are in the US. Vault height is about size not age. Our kids currently vault on 2 settings. 6 on one setting, 2 smaller kids the table is lower.
It is a set height per age. You can't change it. However as a coach I can assure you size is not the only factor in vaulting . I have several times had tiny power packs who rock out a big vault easily and several taller girls who struggle to get over anything. It is about power, speed and tightness as well as weight on the board.
 

Jenny

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Sep 17, 2012
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To the OP. I would tell her the adrenaline at a competition will get her over. Just go for it. It's a flatback. Coach can stand nearby just in case. And if the coach is elsewhere they should arrange for someone to be there to hold her number etc etc.
 

mumof3

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Aug 13, 2017
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Thanks all for your advice- I don't really think there's much of a safety issue- I just wish she wouldn't perceive 'failing' to be such a huge thing. She's always struggled with resilience and perseverance through adversity rather than when things are easy. I had hoped that gymnastics would be a useful activity in helping her to overcome this, as well as spending time doing something she enjoys. I remember from doing gymnastics as a child loads and loads of failing at the same thing in an environment full of other kids in exactly the same position as being really helpful for my own similar fears, but maybe it won't work like that for her, or maybe it will, but just not yet. I really feel for her, but apart from tons of positive reinforcement re: effort and enjoyment, etc, I'm not sure how to help her stop being too afraid of how well she'll do something to actually try! I have a 6 year old boy who is really the opposite- doesn't at all mind things not going right first time, will just pick himself up, shrug his shoulders and have another go. I know we all have different fears/anxieties, but I do wish I could help her to find it easier to fail!
 
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